Office Supply Stores in the US Industry Market Research Report from IBISWorld has Been Updated

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Though rising disposable income and corporate will revive demand for office supplies, external competition from supercenters and e-commerce will put a strain on industry growth. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated a report on the Office Supply Stores industry in its growing industry report collection.

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Heightened competition from discount stores will temper the industry's postrecession recovery

The Office Supply Stores industry has fought through tough conditions in the five years to 2013, with revenue expected to decline at an average annual rate of 1.2%, despite the moderate 2.2% growth expected in 2013 to total $21.2 billion. Weak consumer confidence, low disposable income and poor corporate profit deterred households and businesses from making discretionary purchases during the recession, causing office-supply demand to fall substantially over the period. Furthermore, according to IBISWorld industry analyst Dale Schmidt, “encroaching competition from discount stores, warehouse clubs, supercenters and e-commerce websites have increasingly taken customers away by offering convenience and low prices.” This competitive pressure has led to falling profitability; as industry operators lowered their markups to remain afloat, average profit margins have dropped substantially from 2008 levels.

Falling sales during the recession have also brought about some changes in the industry's landscape. Prior to the economic downturn, big-box stores like Staples, Office Depot and OfficeMax rapidly gained a large share of the market by leveraging their large size and national buying power. However, when sales volumes dropped, these larger players quickly realized that the big-box format led to higher operating costs. “Also, the need for large real estate hindered them from entering densely populated urban markets, depriving them of potential sales,” says Schmidt. In response, Staples and Office Depot reduced the size of their storefronts to achieve higher space utilization and lower costs. Nonetheless, the Office Supply Stores industry remains highly concentrated, especially as increased external competition squeezes smaller companies out of the industry or forces them to consolidate with the major industry players.

Though revenue is still expected to decline overall, the Office Supplies Stores industry's outlook is slightly better than the past five years. Armed with higher disposable income and corporate profit, households and businesses are expected to increase spending on office supplies and equipment that they delayed during the recession. However, competition is projected to stay high during this period, keeping the number of new entrants to a minimum. Over the five-year period, the number of enterprises is forecast to continue decreasing as companies consolidate or exit the industry. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Office Supply Stores in the US industry report page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

This industry includes stores that primarily sell stationery, school supplies and office supplies. Stores may also sell a combination of new computers, office equipment, furniture and supplies. This industry does not include general merchandisers or electronic retailers.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
IBISWorld 3
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